You always had a keen sense for when I needed attention, and you never failed to take the extra effort – whether it was a question, a card, a word or meal – you gave me what I needed, what only a mother could.

Perhaps that’s the reason it hurts so much tonight.

why doesn’t it ever end?


‘The challenge with being an initiator of projects is that you are never, ever done.’ (Seth Godin)

Amidst mountains of projects and to-do lists, battling the rising fear that I am doing something wrong because work never ends, it’s comforting to know that my place is one of privilege. If we are given the powers to initiate projects, we have unwittingly signed on to a life that constantly looks ahead.

I am not done because my dreams and goals aren’t. Not because my time management sucks, or that God didn’t give me the energy and 36 hours in a day I need to complete everything.

It’s because I still believe.

what to do next

This is the most important decision in your career (or even your day).

It didn’t used to be. What next used to be a question answered by your boss or your clients.

With so many opportunities and so many constraints, successfully picking what to do next is your moment of highest leverage. It deserves more time and attention than most people give it.

If you’re not willing to face the abyss of choice, you will almost certainly not spend enough time dancing with opportunity.

– Seth Godin

Hot on the heels of my last post on lessons learned, I read this blinking light of a post by Seth Godin. And dear god, it’s like someone peered into my head and summed up all that I’m facing. What am I really going to do next? Dare I answer, I don’t know!

It’s a little tough when so many of life’s choices are not actually within my sphere to decide. But wait. Hold on. Am I giving myself excuses to shirk away from really deliberating over what I can do? Let’s start small:

I can decide what to do with my health. I am drinking close to 2 litres of water a day; a marked difference from my coffee and tea diet previously. And I have scheduled three runs for this week (dudes! you better not back out!). And I shall determine to sleep earlier. I need rest. So there. Health issues settled.

I can decide what to do with my current career. I am researching (okay, do conversations with people who’ve been there count?) and I am planning my schedule for the coming week, including a list of videos that I must watch because if I don’t feed, I can’t get inspired. I guess I could read a little more… (sniffle, bye bye magazines, hello thick boring books filled with technical jargon)

I can plan my finances a little better. I have avoided online shopping for a week. And haven’t actually bought anything off the racks for a while. I guess I could forgo my lattes, and cabs, and return my library books on time…

But ultimately, what do I want to do with this life I now have?

I want to get Seth Godin’s latest book We Are All Weird. Something about that title resonates with me…

back to the school of life

Confucius once said, ‘By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.’ I’ve been an imitator (and still am to some degree), and experiences I have, by the barrels. Perhaps it’s time to take the noblest route. Here are my lessons learned in the past one week. Ouch.

1. I love bright red lipstick. It makes me look wide awake and happy. This is important because of point number 2.

2. It’s possible for the human body to experience an extreme range of emotions, within 6 hours. I can’t recall the last time I had to switch emotions and mindsets so quickly, depending on the room I needed to walk in to, and the people I had to face. It feels like I’ve been running to stand still.

3. A night’s sleep isn’t good enough to rest you when the day was emotional. I sleep as much as I can, and wake up feeling as tired as when I collapsed into bed.

4. Life can be complex. And you can still be happy. Seriously. You know the feeling of relief, pain and sheer tiredness you get when you leave the dentist after a root canal? It’s less a pop and more the deflated sizzle of victory. Yet you smile, albeit crookedly, while you bleed.

5. Dressing up is fun when it’s camouflage. We women dress for many reasons; to impress or attract, to make a statement or to hide how we feel. When I feel really down, my clothing gets more outrageous and colourful. And the past one week has seen me in a bright yellow and white dress, hot pink pants, rainbow-hued floral scarves…

6. Camouflage doesn’t work on me. Especially with the people I know. I walked into the boardroom a few days ago and the first thing my boss said was, ‘Hey! You must be feeling down! You’re dressed really brightly today.’ Yes. I am a book. Go read me.

7. Quiet talks are still my favourite mode of communication. I can be social when necessary but give me a choice and I prefer heart-to-heart talks. Like the conversation I had with a running partner, another I had in a car, and interestingly… the ‘talks’ I had with the boss.

8. I love change. I hate change. Wanting it is different from actually stepping in to it.

9. Playing inane games on the iPhone can be good. I’ve stopped lying to myself that I am merely ‘maintaining’ the fashion boutique for someone else who used my iPhone. I am doing it for myself. There’s something so ridiculous powerful about purchasing clothing, expanding my store and visiting my neighbours that I am now hooked. Simply because it’s the one thing I can control in my roller-coaster life.

10. I couldn’t have chosen a worse time to run a marathon. 42km awaits me in December and I can now run for only an hour. That’s 1/6 the duration of what I’ll have to face. The sobbing faces of people sitting by the road in immense pain because they decided to run a marathon without actually training effectively for it? That might just be me. Hand me the muscle rub.

And yet all these things I’ve learned cannot prepare me for the ultimate test – my future. But hey, at least I’m shouldering on, with a bright red smile and yellow dress on. Maybe I’ll wear orange on my long run tomorrow…